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Pledge only important if students understand, support Constitution
How do you vote against the Pledge of Allegiance?
Most officials can't, hence the new procedure at McCook City Council meetings, added to a prayer, when the clergy person assigned the task remembers to make it to the meeting.
Today, the State Board of Education was to decide whether to hold hearings on a proposal to require all classrooms, kindergarten through 12th grade, to recite the pledge of allegiance daily in the presence of an American flag.
Five of the eight members of the state board favor the rule.
Nebraska legislators considered a similar bill this year, supported unanimously by the state board of education, but it didn't make it out of the education committee.
The proposal is modeled after a 2002 New Hampshire law that was upheld by a federal appeals court, but the Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is predictably cautious.
"Schools should do everything they can to inspire patriotism," said Laurel Marsh, executive director of ACLU Nebraska. "But you cannot coerce patriotism."
Requiring recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance might or might not have the desired effect -- we wonder how much meaning the words will have the 180th time they are repeated each year.
Whether or not the state decides to require the daily pledge, it can never be as important as ensuring that students learn the U.S. Constitution and their responsibility to support its guarantees of individual rights.